We took an exploratory bus-ride out to the east of Chiangmai, to Phrae. Never got as far as the town of Nan cuz we felt the area didn't quite measure up to the descriptions we'd read. Getting picky in our old age. But before we left, we bumped into this Chinese Opera [above] which was being staged in the courtyard of a Chinese Temple. Plenty of demons, amplified nasal singing, loud cymbals and scary waving of wooden swords. Audience behaviour in Asia is completely different to concert protocols in the West: people chatter, kids ride their bikes around the seating, phones ring, and fruit-sellers do their normal business. It's like an opera is a normal part of life. Which it is. Here.
This Climbing Apsara was spotted gracefully ascending the steep 'Stone Bridge' up to a ruined Buddhist temple called Wat Saphan Hin [=stone bridge temple]. We sweated 1.8 litres between us on that climb.
Wat Saphan Hin offered a nice shady spot at the feet of a giant standing Buddha.
More ruins than you could swing an elephant at. These are the remains of a Reclining Buddha, restored just enough so that you can imagine the rest.
Then it was off to Bangkok to greet a sapphire-mining delegation from Queensland. In this pic, Alan & Brenton scrutinize the King's Palace. It passed the tough inspection.
Then off to Luangprabang in Laos. Dangerous river trip dodging submerged rocks on the Maekhong, caving in pitch-black secret caves, fire-breathing monsters et al. In the photo above, we watched the world petanque championship, conducted in Laotian not French. The competitors were mainly the 3-wheel jumbo drivers.
And finally back to Chiangmai. More here. On this misty moisty morning, Kuhn Alan snaps some of the Queen's orchids. It is often cool up on top of Doi Suthep mountain at the Queen's Winter Palace. She'd gone to the dentist. In Moscow.
Our condo building has a new coat of paint. Salmon and cream.
Mothers' Day in Thailand is accompanied by public candle ceremonies to honour mums, plus the local brass band in pink cowboy hats and tassels.
Here the Apsara places a candle for Nicolette and Anna. Note how the steps of a shopping centre become the temporary venue for quasi-spiritual activities, a clever strategy for associating Virtue with spending money.
...and more farce in the Thaksin saga. Here's an earlier FunkyPix2 post which may help to explain why Thai authorities want him arrested and extradited to Thailand.